Custer columnist Janette McIntyre keeps the ball rolling on the teacher-hate-fest that will constitute the primary line of defense against the referral of House Bill 1234, Governor Daugaard's really bad education reform law. Read McIntyre's March 28 anti-teacher polemic in the Rapid City Journal, and you will find that out of 46 sentences, only three address the actual workings of the policy:

There were two focuses: merit pay for teachers that includes the incentive for science and math teachers and elimination of tenure....

The Pierre SDEA bosses created these petitions... to stop a bill passed by your local legislators that gives teachers raises!

Teachers who circulate the petitions are shooting themselves in the foot by slowing down the process to actually get some of their colleagues a pay raise [Jannette McIntyre, "Don't Allow SDEA to Run Our Schools," Rapid City Journal, 2012.03.28].

McIntyre's only three comments on policy specifics are inaccurate: HB 1234 doesn't give anyone a raise. It provides bonuses that not one teacher can bank on getting each year. And there is no tenure in K-12 education.

With the practical policy advantages thin to non-existent, apologists for the Governor's plan must resort to attacking teachers, which the title of McIntyre's column makes clear is her intent. Let's do some line-by-line:

Everything is about the money or lack of it in South Dakota educators' opinions.

Has anyone ever looked at states that spend more and have worse results? No one wants to address that statistic. The establishment would undoubtedly point to minorities or children of less ability in those statistics. [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

Twice in a row, McIntyre makes up arguments. She cites no examples of South Dakota teachers arguing that everything is about money. Teachers' opposition to HB 1234 disproves McIntyre: if we thought money was everything, we'd embrace the money HB 1234 promises. She then conjures some "establishment" response, again without citing anyone who's actually made that argument. I can certainly acknowledge that money does not produce automatic improvements in education. The cost of doing business and offering competitive wages varies from place to place for numerous reasons. But the variability of the results of increased spending does not lead to the logical conclusion that you can decrease spending ad infinitum and still get sufficient results.

People need a place to live, so they either rent a home or buy a house. Either way, property taxes are paid and a significant portion goes to the education of children.

Taxpayers pay South Dakota teachers. We get that. Teachers then pay the SDEA to represent them.

It is you, the taxpayer, paying the SDEA to argue that the teachers are not getting enough money [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

Yes, and McIntyre and I both pay taxes that pay the salaries of Dennis Daugaard, Angie Buhl, Kristi Noem, and Tim Johnson. Does that mean those public figures are not entitled to identify policy problems and advocate for solutions?

Here's the interesting part. Everyone falls back on local control. We always say that local control is best for the teachers, the administration, the boards and ultimately the children.

It's always one of the complaints about the Legislature year after year. They tell those who are in the trenches how to run a school.

The teachers have a point. So does it make sense to take your marching orders from SDEA in Pierre? [McIntyre, 2012.03.28]

Now McIntyre is weaving all over the place, trying to cobble together what must sound in her echo chamber like clever little sound bites. There is a profound difference between state government passing statutory dictates on the operation of local schools and teachers working together statewide to stop bad policy. SDEA can't force any teacher to join (I haven't), and it can't force even its members to follow its orders. More importantly, even when they cooperate with their colleagues in other districts, your local teachers have no authority over your school board's decisions.

So if it wasn't interesting before, here's my question: Why are we letting an organization based in Pierre, the SDEA, the stepchild of the NEA in Washington, D.C., dictate how we run our schools? [McIntyre, 2012.03.28]

Again, pure ad hominem. McIntyre needs you not to view SDEA as real people, as teachers who bust their chops for your kids and buy groceries and pay taxes in your community. She needs you to believe they are the evil "stepchild" (oh, the insulting language!) of a big bad Washington D.C. monster (which again, has no authority to dictate anything to local school boards in South Dakota).

The Pierre SDEA bosses created these petitions with help from their well-paid lawyers (again you taxpayers are footing the bill for this) to stop a bill passed by your local legislators that gives teachers raises! [McIntyre, 2012.03.28]

The weaving gets worse here. Notice how McIntyre characterizes SDEA leaders as "bosses" in Pierre, even though the organization is led by educators from around the state, including Sandy Arseneault, who is McIntyre's neighbor in Custer. McIntyre then characterizes HB 1234 as coming not from government officials in Pierre but from "your local legislators." McInctyre clearly chooses her two-faced descriptions to bolster her weak case.

And "well-paid lawyers"? Ha! These petitions required more time at the copy machine than at the lawyer's office to create. The petitions have one standard sentence at the top declaring the intent to refer HB 1234, followed by a copy of the bill title and the July 1 enactment date. McIntyre's rhetoric disconnects her from reality.

This isn't rocket science. There will never be enough money in the union's opinion.

The only way the union will ever be happy is when the state gives them a blank check. They will then tell the administrators, the teachers and the taxpayers how the money will be spent. That makes perfect sense to them [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

McIntyre shouted "Lawyers!" Now she shouts "Union!" hoping voters will ignore policy and reality in favor of anti-labor bias. Unions have no power in South Dakota to tell anyone how to spend money. I'm not in the union, and I'm not asking for a blank check. My position (and even that of some non-union Republican legislators) is that South Dakota doesn't spend enough on education. If we can find more money to spend, I want us to spend that money on policies that work, not the ideological hodgepodge of HB 1234.

I'm not sure why they feel that a referendum will help anyone. It certainly won't help the taxpayer [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

Yes, it will: the referendum can stop Pierre from wasting money on policies that don't work.

It won't help the teachers [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

Yes, it will: the referendum can stop Pierre from imposing counterproductive policies on teachers.

And ultimately, it won't help the students that they profess are their primary focus [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

Yes, it will: the referendum can spare students from becoming the subjects of even more standardized testing and a rat-race competition that objectifies them and distracts teachers from providing the best education possible.

The bill may not be perfect, but it was a start [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

McIntyre now resorts to the same diversionary tactic as HB 1234 supporter Rep. Steve Hickey and her fellow RCJ columnist Jim Shaw. When she can't defend this flawed policy, she pretends that doing something is better than doing nothing.

They will spend more of our tax dollars running the depressing and vindictive "South Dakotans hate educating children" campaign this fall [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

Wait a minute: what tax dollars are we spending? The taxes you paid for my salary are no longer your dollars; I've earned them in exchange for services rendered, meaning those dollars are mine to do with as I see fit. I'm not getting a subsidy to go door-to-door with petitions, and I won't get a subsidy to campaign against HB 1234 in the fall. We're having a big election with numerous other items on the ballot, so the marginal cost of one more referred item is minimal (and Janette, you really don't want to say that letting people have the right to vote on important issues costs too much, do you?).

And it's much more likely that the thrust of the campaign against HB 1234 will be to say that because we love educating our children, we stand against bad policies like HB 1234 that won't help us educate those children better. The only depressing and vindictive language I hear is McIntyre calling teachers names.

McIntyre's screed falls in line with the desperate ad professionam baloney we're going to hear from HB 1234 apologists. Watch for it. Be ready to rebut it with reality... over and over again.

Bonus Rebuttal: McIntyre can't even start her essay off right:

The South Dakota Education Association is circulating petitions to stop Gov. Dennis Daugaard's latest attempt at revamping the education system [McIntyre, 2012.03.28].

"Latest attempt"? To what other attempts does McIntyre allude? Governor Daugaard's only other major education "reform" was the 10% budget cut he advocated in his first budget last year.